A note from our Co-Founder, James, on what Disability Pride Month means to us

Ed and James side by side

Fine & Able Co-Founders, Ed (left) & James (right)

July is Disability Pride Month: a month of events and action aimed at increasing disability visibility and creating a more inclusive society.

I only recently found out about Disability Pride Month when my colleague asked if I'd like to write this blog about it. 

Like me, not many people know about Disability Pride Month. But that doesn't surprise me. Despite 1 in 5 people being disabled, disability is so often overlooked and hidden from mainstream view.

Nowhere is this clearer than in design of homewares and the built environment.

After I sustained a spinal cord injury in 2005, my wife and I came back to our flat to find it had been made wheelchair accessible, but full of depressing grey plastic and clinical-looking objects. It felt like the hospital we had just come from, not our home.

Read more on our story.

When I set up Motionspot nine years ago with Ed, and later Fine & Able, we wanted to disrupt the way people thought about disability and accessible design. We wanted to show that disabled people shouldn't have to settle for second-rate design. To bring disability out of the shadows and shout that accessibility shouldn't be an afterthought.

"Disabled people shouldn't have to settle for second-rate design. Accessibility shouldn't be an afterthought.”

James

 

Along the way, we've found that this simple shift in perspective - designing to include the huge range of cognitive, sensory and physical diversity in mind - opens up much more creative thinking and innovative solutions that makes design better for everyone.

Through Fine & Able we work with individuals every day to offer accessible options that fit their style. Through Motionspot, we work with some of the world’s biggest commercial brands in hospitality, transport, student living, office design and later living to make their buildings and services more inclusive.

It has been an incredible journey so far and the industry has seen significant change as a result. But these improvements have not come easy. They have been hard won by disability advocates and allies all over the world pushing towards the common goal of recognition and inclusion and there is still a long way to go.

We are proud to be part of this movement at Fine & Able and Motionspot.

So this Disability Pride Month, and every day: to all disability advocates past, present and future who work so hard to strive for a more inclusive society, we stand with you.

And if you're not sure what you can do this Disability Pride Month, a great place to start is to diversify your feed and follow more disabled voices. Check out The Shaw Trust's Disability Power 100 to get going!

And download the Fine & Able brochure to see exactly what I mean by our delightfully different approach to accessibility.

The disability pride flag. A colourful striped zig zag on a black background

The Disability Pride Flag: The colourful striped lightning bolt represents the variety of needs and experience of disabled people, solidarity, the obstacles disabled people must navigate and the creativity it requires to do so, set on a black background to mourn those who have suffered. Designed by Ann Magill, a disabled woman.